Now it’s already 13 weeks ago, but it’s still pretty present and unreal the same time. We crossed the entire Alps. No, not the classic North to South but East to West, “all the way down to the ocean” from Vienna to Nice. Started on March 17thand finished exactly 36 days later on April 22ndby putting the swollen feet into the salty sea, covering 1.721km and almost 90.000m+, moving about 10.5 hours everyday.
We couldn’t care about the horrible weather in the first 3 weeks, ignored painful inflamed blisters on the feet, navigated through freezing cold snowstorms, dealt with broken equipment, fought with difficult team dynamics and just kept moving with concrete legs. Day by day.
It was a rough expedition, a real adventure and for sure a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Of course some days were super hard physically and also mentally and dropping seemed like a pain-relive but if you have a goal (and we had one!) you can fight for it and to achieve something big you need to suffer. That’s what I found out.
The idea of the (tor)tour did came from the 4 Austrians Robert Kittl, Klaus Hoi, Hansjörg Farbmacher and Hans Mariacher who did this epic alpcrossing 47 years ago in 1971. True pioneers. As longer we moved on as more we understood how incredible their performance was and still is. Just think about navigating in a total whiteout just with a compass and unfolding a map in an 80km/h storm. Or skiing down an icy 45 degree slope with a bit better 240cm long CX-skies. Crazy! We tried to follow their historical route as much as possible but needed to change here and there due high avalanche risk, lack of snow and too dangerous conditions. When an avalanche starts at the tip of your ski and the terrain is getting more steep after, it would be totally stupid to continue just to stay on the 1971 route, right? And I personally think it was never possible to repeat the Austrians project we were inspired by them and tried to follow their tracks.
But however, when Mark and Janelly Smiley, Bernhard Hug, David Wallmann and me arrived after 36 days at the Mediterranean Sea, jumped with our complete skiing equipment in the refreshing waves, all pain was forgotten, the mental stress disappeared and…I can’t still believe that we made it.
But there is a little bit of shadow over our success as Nuria Picas and Tamara Lunger had to drop. Nuria because she was not really ready for such a long skitour and Tamara as she got inflamed shines, tried to keep on moving for about one week feeling pain every single step until it was too much. Super said…
There will be a Bergwelten Servus TV documentary (2x45min) released in autumn and I can’t wait to see the full movie from a different viewpoint. And hopefully we get some live-presentation dates arranged for the real stories as pulling an UIAA mountain guide up Mont Blanc, getting almost arrested by the police in Italy and being stuck at a biwi at 3.700m. Stay tuned!